NEDA chief and Assam Finance and PWD Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma viewed that in Tripura, National Register of Citizens (NRC) is not relevant as unlike Assam the demography has not changed much and moreover, in absence of a cut-off date, accord and statutory body for the NRC, the demand by the tribal party Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) is premature.
Dr Sarma, who also is the BJP election in-charge of Tripura, arrived in Agartala on a two-day visit for setting strategies of the BJP for the coming Lok Sabha elections scheduled for next year.
According to him, as because the number that has not been enrolled with the NRC is large so there is a lot of shouts but after the claims and objection process is completed, the number will drastically come down and Assam will come up with a correct and perfect NCR and only after that other states should decide on replicating or not replicating it in their states.
On the NRC issue in Assam where more than 40 lakh people are left out, the Assam Minister said, “There is no issue left in Assam with the NRC now, once the claims and objections shall start, people will start addressing them and rest I feel is fine with it.”
Dr Sarma said that only one stage of NRC has been completed and on the basis of that people should not come to any final conclusion.
On the implementation of NRC in Tripura state, as demands are being raised by the IPFT and a section of INPT party, Dr Sarma said, “For the Assam Accord, the NRC enrolment has been done in Assam, a lot of time is left for its implementation because then claims and objections are to be addressed and after that final list will be prepared. After that people will go to the foreigners’ tribunal, High Court, Supreme Sourt etc. So it is a long process and once the Supreme Court approves only after that all the states shall share the experience. Hence it is a long process to complete the process in that direction.”
When asked while the BJP is demanding for NRC in West Bengal and not in favour of it in Tripura, the Assam Minister said, “Going by the demography of Tripura, I do not think there is a huge requirement of NRC, Assam’s demography has changed, so that is a different thing, but the entire country ideally should have a register of citizenship. But the reason for the IPFT asking it I think there must be something in their mind. In Assam there is an accord and a cut-off date, those elements are not there in Tripura. So if there is no accord, cut-off date, and statutory body the outcome will just be a replication of the voter’s list.”
Out of total 25 Lok Sabha seats in the Northeast, there are two seats in Tripura and BJP despite objection from its alliance party IPFT has already declared to contest from both seats – East and West Tripura seats.